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Access denied to network folders in Windows XP

The following helped me gain total access to a new XP box from an older computer running NT4 with a default Administrator logon account. This info has been lifted from an Experts Exchange page:


Hi, I have a home network of 3 computers. Two are running XP and the other 95. When I try to access the files on one of the XP machines from either the other XP or the 95, it says access denied when accessing Program files or documents and settings for example e.g.

Z:\Program Flies is not accessible

Access is denied

Is there a setting I need to change to gain access to these folders?


Date: 03/12/2004 11:41AM PST
Accepted Answer
XP Home isn't the greatest for networking...but perhaps something here will help:

Check for Classic Mode security settings:
Click Start->Run->gpedit.msc <enter>
Security Settings
Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options
Sharing Mode- Change this to "Classic Mode - Local users Authenticate as Themselves" (as opposed to "Guest only" the default model). Ref:

Disable Simple File Sharing:
Right-click the Start button and click Explore
Click Tools/Click Folder Options
Click the View tab
At the bottom of the Advanced Settings list, deselect (remove the checkbox from):
"Use simple file sharing (Recommended)"
Click OK

Let Everyone's permissions apply to anonymous users as well:
Click Start->Run->SECPOL.MSC /S <ENTER>
Navigate to Local Policies/Security Options.
Double click Network Access:Let Everyone permissions apply to anonymous users
Click Enabled and click OK

If the above doesn't work for you, refer to the other options / opinions on the original page.

Update May 2005
When I upgraded the old NT4 computer to one running XP SP2, once again I could not access certain special folders on the other XP machine on the network despite following the steps above. It was weird—I could not get to the other desktop for example, but neither could I open some files in folders where other files were perfectly accessible. It seemed random. This might have had something to do with the other machine being set up with the special My Documents folder mapping to the entire drive. Just a wild guess.

Anyway, I seemed to find the solution on this thread. The pertinent bit that helped me involved setting up matching user accounts on both computers. It is copied below.

Are you running XP Pro with simple file sharing or disabled? With Simple File Sharing disabled, any computer you should create a username and password account that is identical to the other computer.

If simple file sharing is enabled, the Guest account needs to be enabled. All network logons are requested through that account. Click Start, Run, and type cmd. Then type "net user guest /active:yes" in the command prompt window.

Do you have a third party firewall such as Norton Internet Security, ZoneAlarm, or Sygate? If so, then keep in mind that sometimes disabling doesn't always work. Uninstall all firewall software while troubleshooting...

Eric Cross
Microsoft MVP (Windows Networking)


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